I am 28. White. A Female. And a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I am HIV Positive. This is my story of how a few months, a few people, and a few events in Zambia changed me and my life forever. This is the story of how I contracted HIV and brought my Peace Corps Journey to a crashing halt... and how I am working now to pick up and put back together the pieces of my life as a newly diagnosed person living with HIV. This was not the journey I had originally planned... my path has traumatically and dramatically changed... but it is the one I am on now. There is no going back. There is only forward. I welcome you to follow along with me as I attempt to explore this new life ahead of me, whether you are someone from the Peace Corps community, or someone living with HIV. I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, and opinions. Let us go forward together. To start from the beginning, click here He Gave Me More Than A Bracelet.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Two Speaking Events in Two Days
Okay, okay, maybe he doesn’t even know I exist lol… but others do, and they want me there. So, yes, I booked a flight down to Florida so that I may attend the Director’s event, and perhaps even get the chance to shake his hand or meet him. It has been suggested that as I shake his hand, perhaps I may even hand deliver a letter to him, outlining some of the issues regarding HIV and HIV Trainings for volunteers that I feel should be addressed.
I have begun to draft such a letter, but am finding it difficult. I do not in any way want to sound as if I am a whining baby, attempting to place blame on the Peace Corps. I do not hold a grudge towards Peace Corps. But, I do feel that some things could be improved upon. I do not want it to be my words and my words only. I have received so many comments and private e-mails from PCVs and RPCVs, sharing their own stories of risk, and their own complaints and concerns about what has or has not been done properly. I feel obligated to include some of these stories and concerns in my letter, so that we, together, can attempt to better shape the trainings and supports provided to volunteers. Please, if you are a volunteer, or past volunteer, and have any concerns relating to HIV or sexual education trainings and supports provided during your Peace Corps service, please do not hesitate to contact me. Let us take an active role in what happens to future volunteers.
In addition to attending Director William’s event, I have also been invited to host my own speaking event. I will be meeting with the University of Florida Peace Corps Recruiter, and a group of her future and past volunteers, to share my story and words about HIV. We hope to educate and inform, to share and discuss, to make a positive impact on these future volunteers who will soon be out there serving in countries all around the world.
If you are following me from around the University of Florida area, please contact me if you have additional interest or questions about these events.